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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions

by

Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In his wry and funny memoir, Edward Ugel tells the story of America's addiction to the lottery from an astonishing angle.

At age twenty-six, Ed found himself broke, knee-deep in gambling debt, and moving back into his parents' basement. It all changed, however, when he serendipitously landed a job as a salesman for The Firm — a company that offered up-front cash to lottery winners in exchange for their prize money, often paid in agonizingly small annual payments, some lasting up to twenty-five years. For the better part of the ensuing decade, Ed spent his time closing deals with lottery winners, making a lucrative and legitimate — if sometimes not-so-nice — living by taking advantage of their weaknesses...weaknesses he knew all too well.

Ed met hundreds of lottery winners and saw up-close the often hilarious, sometime sad outcome when great wealth is dropped on ordinary people. Once lottery winners realized their "dream-come-true" multimillion jackpots were not all that they were cracked up to be, Ed would knock on their door, offering them the cash they wanted-and often desperately need. This cash sometimes came at a high price, but winners were rarely in a position to walk the other way. As Ed learned, few of them had the financial savvy to keep up with the lottery-winner lifestyle. In fact, some just wanted their old lives back.

A charmingly neurotic gambler, Ed traveled deep into the heart of the country where he discovered the American Dream looks a lot like a day at the casino. And Ed knows casinos. In fact, his own taste for gambling gave him a unique insight into lottery winners: he intimately understood their mindset, making it that much easier to relate to them. And like lottery winners, Ed struggled to find balance in his own life as his increasing success earned him a bigger and bigger salary. Even as he relished his accomplishments, he grappled with the question: "If you are good at something that is bad for some people, does that make you a bad person?"

Ed Ugel takes the readers inside the captivating world of lottery winners and shows us how lotteries and gambling have become deeply inscribed in every aspect of American life shaping our image of success and good fortune. Money for Nothing is a witty, wise, and often outrageously funny account of high expectations and easy money.

Review:

"Money for Nothing took me into a world I had no idea existed. For anyone who's ever dreamed of winning the lottery, this is a terrifying look at what really happens when someone hands you that huge cardboard check. Ugel's writing style is terrific, and anyone who's ever found himself sobbing into a scotch glass at a casino at three in the morning is going to identify with the highs and lows of this compelling story." Ben Mezrich, author of Bringing Down the House

Review:

"Ugel's natural showmanship makes for entertaining reading. He does little to pretty up his misdeeds...and offers comical vignettes of his rendezvous and run-ins with prospective clients while delivering a well-deserved scathing indictment of the government-backed lottery system." Library Journal

Review:

"By turns amusing and alarming." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Ugel...tells a sordid tale of gambling addiction, and we all have much to learn from the author's important perspective on the proliferation of gambling opportunities. Written in an informal, sometimes humorous manner, this book contains excellent information." Booklist

Review:

"Money for Nothing alternates sleaze and hilarity, exploits and exploitation....Ugel's portraits of the winners losing to The Firm are stunning in audacity. His accounts of a life in sales are at once addictive and depressing — much like gambling itself." Oregonian

Review:

"Mr. Ugel's roller-coaster ride makes for dizzying, sometimes harrowing reading." New York Times

Review:

"His tale is a colorfully written account by a self-proclaimed overweight, chain-smoking, Krispy Kreme doughnut-eating, fanatical gambler....You will lick your chops, eager to hear the sordid woes of winners gone broke from spending sprees." USA Today

Review:

"Ugel's outrageous and often very funny account of the years he spent gouging lottery winners for whatever he could take." New York Daily News

Review:

"An added twist to Mr. Ugel's sordid...tale is the fact that he was himself a compulsive gambler. So while he was encouraging lottery winners to sell him their checks at a discount, his commissions were disappearing at the tables in Atlantic City and Las Vegas." Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Sales and marketing expert Edward Ugel spent his late twenties and early thirties working among the nation's most infamous lottery winners and gamblers in the high-stakes lump sum industry. He writes for the Huffington Post and has also written for the New York Times and contributed to PRI's This American Life.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061284175
Subtitle:
One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions
Author:
Ugel, Edward
Author:
by Edward Ugel
Publisher:
HarperBusiness
Subject:
General
Subject:
Business
Subject:
Gambling - General
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Lottery winners
Subject:
Gambling - Lotteries
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070918
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.89 in 15.52 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » Gambling » General

Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Collins - English 9780061284175 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Money for Nothing took me into a world I had no idea existed. For anyone who's ever dreamed of winning the lottery, this is a terrifying look at what really happens when someone hands you that huge cardboard check. Ugel's writing style is terrific, and anyone who's ever found himself sobbing into a scotch glass at a casino at three in the morning is going to identify with the highs and lows of this compelling story."
"Review" by , "Ugel's natural showmanship makes for entertaining reading. He does little to pretty up his misdeeds...and offers comical vignettes of his rendezvous and run-ins with prospective clients while delivering a well-deserved scathing indictment of the government-backed lottery system."
"Review" by , "By turns amusing and alarming."
"Review" by , "Ugel...tells a sordid tale of gambling addiction, and we all have much to learn from the author's important perspective on the proliferation of gambling opportunities. Written in an informal, sometimes humorous manner, this book contains excellent information."
"Review" by , "Money for Nothing alternates sleaze and hilarity, exploits and exploitation....Ugel's portraits of the winners losing to The Firm are stunning in audacity. His accounts of a life in sales are at once addictive and depressing — much like gambling itself."
"Review" by , "Mr. Ugel's roller-coaster ride makes for dizzying, sometimes harrowing reading."
"Review" by , "His tale is a colorfully written account by a self-proclaimed overweight, chain-smoking, Krispy Kreme doughnut-eating, fanatical gambler....You will lick your chops, eager to hear the sordid woes of winners gone broke from spending sprees."
"Review" by , "Ugel's outrageous and often very funny account of the years he spent gouging lottery winners for whatever he could take."
"Review" by , "An added twist to Mr. Ugel's sordid...tale is the fact that he was himself a compulsive gambler. So while he was encouraging lottery winners to sell him their checks at a discount, his commissions were disappearing at the tables in Atlantic City and Las Vegas."
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